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Summary

Initially viewed as having limited uses in customer service (aside from as a channel for complaints), social media is rapidly gaining traction with customers wanting to communicate with businesses. Although there are still issues with security and sharing personal details publicly, Facebook has improved its support for business Pages. Private social messaging services such as Facebook Messenger represent an opportunity for businesses looking to provide simplified customer service. One vendor that has embraced Messenger is Zendesk, which has integrated Zopim, its recently acquired chat platform, with Facebook Messenger. This allows customers to communicate easily with businesses using the platform.

Zendesk has partnered with Facebook Messenger to help businesses deliver differentiated customer support

Zendesk’s unique integration with Messenger allows customers to communicate directly with any business that has a Facebook Page. After making a purchase on a website or via a mobile app, customers are encouraged to get updates about their orders via Messenger instead of by email. They can then use the channel to ask questions about their purchases, follow shipping updates, and even make changes to their orders. Customers can quickly find order information or communicate with agents without having to log in to a website or find the right email or phone number. Agents view the customer interactions in the same Zendesk application that they are accustomed to using for handling other types of communications. All messages are stored with customer case records so that agents can easily view the historical context of transactions. This use of Messenger makes the most sense for retailers that have a loyal following of customers on their Facebook community; for example, the retailer Everlane is already working with Zendesk to offer this differentiated service.

Ovum believes that as the shift from voice to digital communications continues, tools such as Messenger and SMS will alter customer service. Today there are many channel choices and customers are not always sure which to choose to get the answers they need. Businesses need to prioritize faster resolutions and reduce the effort customers must put in to find information and communicate with agents. Customers are already communicating with their peers via SMS and Messenger and it makes sense that they should be able to send a quick question to an agent through the same user-friendly channels. In addition, Facebook has added free voice calling to its Messenger app, meaning that conversations can be easily escalated to voice if they become too complex to handle via text messaging. However, businesses will need to schedule agents accordingly and train them to handle multichannel interactions to ensure the smooth transfer of information across channels.

Appendix

Further reading

Benchmarking Enterprise Maturity for Social Customer Service, IT020-000018 (April 2014)

“Facebook’s Messenger Platform takes measured steps towards a richer user experience,” TE0003-000848 (March 2015)

Author

Aphrodite Brinsmead, Senior Analyst, Customer Engagement

aphrodite.brinsmead@ovum.com

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